EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.17.10

FFII and End Software Patents (ESP) Respond to Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) Regarding Software Patentability

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anti software patents
India too is fighting against software patents

Summary: Responses to a referral which was intended to help determine whether or not software algorithms should be patentable in Europe

THE output of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) was covered here 3 times last week [1, 2, 3], but we have found no formal statement from the FFII, until now (full press release appended at the bottom):

Brimelow Referral on software patents dismissed: ‘time for the legislator to take over’

Munich, 13 May 2010 — The highest appeal chamber of the European Patent Office, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA), has decided on patents for computer programs. The questions on point of law from President Brimelow were decided to be “inadmissible” under Article 112(1)(b) EPC. It chided the President for bothering the board with her questions. For such requests Alison Brimelow was recommended to ask her legal staff.

The FSF-funded End Software Patents (ESP) initiative calls it a “good result”:

An unexpected, good result: after more than a year and a half of review (referral G3/08), the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal has declared that the four questions posed were all inadmissible. The patent office is thus does not have the power to decide for itself whether or not software should be patentable.

Here is IDG’s coverage (not IDG in Europe) and the post which Groklaw chose as its reference analysis:

If you believe that no news is good news, then 3/08 is wonderful news because the 61-page decision found the referral inadmissible and, therefore, declined to reach the merits. It’s an interesting (if non-committal) read, and some of the questions raised are fascinating. Consider the following: “Must a claimed feature cause a technical effect on a physical entity in the real world in order to contribute to the technical character of the claim?” Great question–but the EPO Enlarged Court of Appeal declined to consider this one and all of the others.

The decision in Europe is very important because it represents an attempt to expand software patents beyond the United States (and Japan, among perhaps a few more countries). It’s an attempt to change the tide in the same way that the DMCA broke loose after heavy lobbying from Hollywood. Europe is a key checkpoint to them, but it’s a tough nut to crack because Europe cannot be blackmailed, unlike poorer regions.

The following video from Taiwan (May 2005) shows Richard Stallman theorising that Microsoft is trying to pass software patents in other countries before litigiously attacking Linux in order not to reduce the chances of legalising software patents (Germany has just approved the FAT patent from Microsoft and it affects the EU-based TomTom).


Here is the audio version of this talk.

Skip to 1(hr):25(min) to hear Stallman talk about Microsoft and software patents. As mentioned earlier today, Stallman also notes that Microsoft is a criminal company that was convicted 3 times and should therefore not be supported by governments. All in all, this is a very good delivery without interruptions or awkward pauses. It is calm and well focused.


Brimelow Referral on software patents dismissed: “time for the legislator to take over”

Munich, 13 May 2010 — The highest appeal chamber of the European Patent Office, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA), has decided on patents for computer programs. The questions on point of law from President Brimelow were decided to be “inadmissible” under Article 112(1)(b) EPC. It chided the President for bothering the board with her questions. For such requests Alison Brimelow was recommended to ask her legal staff.

The EBoA also looked into the substance but felt not competent to define a key term as “technical”. The board prefers a legislator to decide patentability of computer programs: “…a presidential referral is not admissible merely because the European Parliament and Council have failed to adopt a directive on CII patenting …When judiciary-driven legal development meets its limits, it is time for the legislator to take over”.

FFII welcomes the spirit of the decision. “The European Parliament should now ask for a new directive for harmonization. Five years ago the European Commission and leading members of the European Parliament suggested that”, explains FFII president Benjamin Henrion.

“The referral was overshadowed by institutional politics”, adds André Rebentisch, the FFII general secretary. “The Board had to reject it for formality reasons, as recommended by Prof. Joseph Straus. Still I found the initiative of Alison Brimelow very fruitful. She restarted a technical debate over patenting rules for computer programs. The amount, diversity and quality of the third party statements, together with the length of the final decision are telling. We ought to continue a broad and open exchange of views.”

Links

Opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and press release by the EPO:
http://www.epo.org/topics/news/2010/20100512.html

FFII Page about the Referral on the question of software patents (G03/08):
http://www.ffii.org/EPOReferral

Third party statements on G03/08 (Amicus Curiae Briefs):
http://www.epo.org/patents/appeals/eba-decisions/pending/briefs.html

Hartmut Pilch comments for the EUPAT WG:

http://eupat.ffii.org/10/05/eba/

Permanent link to this press release:
https://press.ffii.org/Press%20releases/Brimelow_Referral_dismissed

Contact

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)

bhenrion at ffii.org
(French/English)

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Never Feed the Internet Trolls, No Matter How Tempting It Becomes

    The tactics for removing critics of abuse (by framing them as "abusive") have evolved a lot in recent years; the best course of action is to never entertain provocateurs in any way whatsoever (just ignore them, give them no attention which they crave and feed on)



  2. Bill Gates: “I'm Not a Lawyer” (He Dropped Out of College, Where He Studied Law Before and After Breaking the Law Chronically)

    How Microsoft blackmailed other companies into supporting nothing but Microsoft and Windows; Bill Gates repeatedly lied to the interrogators about it, then said "I'm not a lawyer" (IANAL) even though he went to college to become one, just like his father who died last month



  3. Microsoft Has Not Changed Since Being Investigated (and Prosecuted) for Crimes at a Federal Level

    The media keeps telling us a bunch of worthless junk about Gates "saving the world" and Microsoft becoming a "nice" and "gentle" (or "soft") company, but nothing could be further from the truth



  4. Stick a Fork in the Open Source Initiative (OSI). OSI is Dead. Microsoft Bought OSI.

    OSI leadership proudly showing early signs of 'prognosis negative'; the OSI can never and will never recover from this; Microsoft killed it



  5. Links 20/10/2020: OpenZFS 2.0 RC4 and Trisquel GNU/Linux 9.0

    Links for the day



  6. People With God Complex Must Never be Allowed in Positions of Power

    The attack on Linus Torvalds — an attack which at his own expense/peril he fails to recognise/acknowledge — seeks to put both projects that he founded right in Microsoft’s palm



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 19, 2020



  8. Corporate Media: GNU/Linux Can Only Succeed If/When Microsoft Dominates Everything Inside It

    The corporate takeover (or handover) of GNU/Linux would not have been possible without complicity of corruptible (bribed) media



  9. Bill Gates Explains How Microsoft and Apple Leverage Software Patents in Their Cross-Licensing Deals (to Perpetuate Duopoly/Shared Monopoly)

    A look back at Apple's and Microsoft's use or misuse of bogus software patents in bargaining (in effect excluding those who have not amassed tens of thousands of patents)



  10. Standards and Choices

    GNU/Linux is a very standards-based platform; having lots of choices (e.g. distros to choose from) isn’t the principal problem — or nowhere near the extent sabotage and illegal tactics by Microsoft have been



  11. IBM's “Emb(RACE)” Campaign is an Insult to History and Historians

    IBM wishes to be seen as some heroic saviour and warrior for black girls; this requires serious if not torturous revisionism to be believed



  12. There Are Too Many Types of Cars...

    "Choice is malicious," say the antagonists



  13. Reversal of Narratives by Internet Trolls (Spinning Reaction to Their Trolling as 'Abuse')

    Organisations that engage in demonisation of people (typically those who expose the abuses of such organisations) somehow evade the standards of Codes of Conduct, as if Codes of Conduct are covertly designed not to protect individuals but to empower those who already have all the powers (or front for powerful people/corporations)



  14. Ongoing (Albeit Secret) Campaign of Patent Extortion Against GNU/Linux Distributions Using Software Patents, Even Expired Ones in Europe

    GNU/Linux distros attacked by software patents, even in Europe where no such patents are supposed to exist (or have any legal bearing)



  15. Links 19/10/2020: Linux 5.9-ck1/MuQSS, Linux Kodachi 7.3

    Links for the day



  16. Java's James Gosling is Wrong. Free Software Advocates Never Suggested or Insinuated That Money-Making Was Ethically Wrong.

    The honorable James Gosling mischaracterises the stance of Free software advocacy, portraying it like it is an issue of money rather than respect for users



  17. Maybe This is What Codes of Conduct Were Made for? Or to Prevent? (Updated)

    When people bemoan the abuse they receive from a so-called 'anti-harassment' team (covering up corporate corruption in a project by ousting people) this is the kind of thing they receive from colleagues or former colleagues



  18. Media Contradicts Itself, Redefines Proprietary Software as 'Open'... for Microsoft

    Proprietary GitHub is being spun as Microsoft going "open" (nothing could be further from the truth) in another EEE-type move with diffusion and confusion



  19. A Critic's Free Software Dictionary by figosdev

    Sarcastic take on often-spoken words in the domain of technology



  20. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 18, 2020



  21. Links 19/10/2020: OpenBSD 6.8, RapidDisk 7.0.0, Tails 4.11 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  22. The Different Types of Spammy 'Articles' and 'Reviews' Which Have Killed 'Professional Journalism' (Nowadays Mostly SPAM)

    The media has become so rogue that a lot of it is merely an extension of the marketing/PR industry; unless this is corrected, online publishers will fail to earn or maintain any degree of trust



  23. When the Software -- and by Extension Hardware and Network -- Controls the User...

    A distraction-free workflow is more likely to be attained using Free software than without it; in a world with information overload and 'surveillance capitalism' people need to carefully rethink what they do (or have done to them) digitally



  24. What the Linux Foundation Teaches People About GNU/Linux in LinuxFoundationX (edX) LFS101x “Introduction to Linux” [sic]

    Some annotated screenshots of preliminary sections of LFS101x, a 'course' designed to indoctrinate people for the Linux Foundation and the project is borrows its name from (but whose trademark it does not control)



  25. Shut Up and Learn to Maintain an Application Suite

    "Try and maintain a complex piece of software like a browser or an office suite, and then you'll understand."



  26. LinuxFoundationX (edX) LFS101x “Introduction to Linux” is More Linux Foundation Marketing and 'Linux' Revisionism Than Actual Training/Teaching

    The Linux Foundation makes a course about "Linux" partly about itself (the Linux Foundation, with top members like Microsoft and Oracle) and distorts the record with terms like "Open Source" and the pretense everything is "Linux" (even work that predates Linux itself)



  27. Microsoft Sheds Off Lots of Staff in This Autumn of COVID

    Microsoft is laying off more staff than we've estimated (even Azure staff) and the modus operandi disguises layoffs as mere departures (to make it seem wilful)



  28. [Meme] Microsoft's Calculator is Spyware

    The last thing GNU/Linux users need or want is yet another simple calculation tool, this one with Microsoft in control



  29. History's Lesson: Microsoft Now Does to GNU/Linux What It Did to Java (Creating 'Schism' to 'Wrest Control')

    We take a closer look at what Bill Gates admitted (under pressure, with 'smoking guns' to compel him into admission) regarding his rogue tactics



  30. When You Have to Use Windows for Something (Like Work) But You Really Don't Want Anything Proprietary or Microsoft-Controlled

    The situations/scenarios where GNU/Linux and BSD geeks need to 'touch' Windows for something (usually remotely) rapidly dwindle; those who are still using Windows on a laptop/desktop in 2020 are considered tech-illiterate or regarded as 'dinosaurs' (hence the dishonour meme above)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts